Same battles. but this time with saints to support us.

Went to see Milk with Dominic this evening and was all fired up and sad by the end.
It’s wonderful. Penn is wonderful and Van Sant mixes real footage with his film with total skill.
But it infuriates me that we’re still fighting the same stupid battles now, thirty years later. Proposition 8. I mean – it’s California, for God’s sake.
I’m extremely proud that we managed to bring in gay marriage (well, partnership) without raising an eyebrow over here in the UK.
I still reckon lots of gay men and women suffer from a less visible but no less pernicious sense of being ‘wrong’. That’s the next and hopefully final battleground.

Now we have a black president. Can’t we all just grow up and accept the fact that we’re all wonderfully different and get on with it.
Bloody Anita Bryants.
Makes my blood boil (in a good, marching-the-streets sort of way)…

25 Comments

  1. lori

    January 26, 2009 at 4:57 am

    I don’t know what made me post. I actually didn’t see the film.
    I skipped in favor of The Wrestler, which turned out to be a white
    trash wonder. Though, I think Sean Penn and Micky Rourke are the two most serious contender for
    Oscar.
    Yes, I agree with you on Prop 8. There should be a separation of church and state on
    these issues. Prop 8 is a bad precedent for majorities to resume bullying minorities.
    Don’t fret. One day it will all be rectified. Haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

  2. John Mc.

    January 26, 2009 at 6:54 am

    A M E N ! ! !

    And I mean that in a non-religious, spiritually connected,
    marching-in-the-streets (which I did after prop 8 passed)
    kind of way…

  3. Courtney

    January 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    You’d think that this nation (America) would more progressive.
    Yet, we’re still so very backwards in how we treat certain
    groups. We can elect a Black man as president, yet discriminate
    against other groups at the same time.

    The US still seems to think that the bullying mentality is
    the only way to get what we want, when that isn’t the case
    anymore…..One day, soon, we’ll realize and accept that
    this nation, this world, this universe is made up of many
    and varied individuals who are all amazing and wonderful in
    their own right. Until then, we’ve got to continue to fight
    and make that known to the bigots, and the those they bully
    into following them through fear and ignorance.

  4. Valerie W

    January 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Yes can’t we just accept others. Amen. Live and let live.

  5. Ian G

    January 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Alistair, I stumbled upon this interview with Malidoma Some recently while researching a project of mine and after reading your blog today, thought it might be of interest to you. Take a look at http://www.cultural-expressions.com/thesis/gay.htm. I feel it is time that more of us gay men and women reclaim our role as the Gatekeepers in our society. I think you are already doing it by te way. Bless your cotton socks for that.

  6. Dennis

    January 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    I see it, but cannot understand the hated for people; not
    because anything except for being who they are. You are
    right, it is just stupid. It is as if society just can’t
    manage unless it has somebody to hate.
    On 1/20/09 I wept as Americans we showed the world we are
    more than the countless corrupt deeds that has been done
    by our gov. in our name and more all of us, myself included
    didn’t do/say more to stop the madness. I felt new hope,
    I felt ashamed no more to hang the stars and strips
    outside my door. We have come along way but must still go
    much farther.
    I do not believe that is always the majorities bullying the
    minorities. With faith in mankind I wager it is more the
    well-organized, wealthy minorities(whether it church, or any
    other “gang”) that bullies other minorities while the rest of us
    sit on their hands and let them.
    sorry to ramble…the story has that affect…

  7. Rick

    January 28, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Speaking of “marching in the streets”…
    a friend of mine was lucky to have marched in the President’s
    Inaugural Parade, as part of the Gay/Lesbian marching band.
    The first time in our history that such a group was invited
    to participate.
    Yes, it’s a baby step, but a step in the right direction.

    http://www.gaybands.org/

  8. john

    January 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    terrible movie. see the documentary.

  9. Nick

    January 28, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve never really understood what the fuss has been about (on any side of the argument) – as long as we all (on whatever side) take care not to frighten the horses.

  10. robbieg3000

    January 29, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Hi Alistair,

    I was in the 5th grade when our teacher told us the mayor
    and Harvey Milk were killed.

    I came out 14 years later.

    I recently fell in love.

    And I thought of marriage for the first time in my life.

    Then Prop 8 came along.

    The lies. In print. On the radio. On the television.
    On fliers. In churches. From churches. All the time.
    Everyday. Even in San Francisco.

    I never marched in a protest, or screamed so loudly,
    so angrily, until that proposition won.

    There is still much work to do, even in California.

    But I am very, very hopeful. I cannot fully describe
    why, just that it is.

  11. Duane

    January 29, 2009 at 2:05 am

    I like that you emphasizing “we” not simply the US has a black president. I hope I live to see the first female president and the first native american president and the first latino president regardless of sexual or religious orientation.

  12. Michael

    January 30, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    The movie was great. It was difficult not to leave the theater moved in some way. Milk was a motivator and a natural leader. The gay community is lacking a Milk. We need someone out there speaking for the community. We have faces but no singular voice or body for the community to stand behind like they did in S.F. with Milk.
    Prop 8 may have been defeated if there was someone who was really pushing. It wasn’t till afterward that the community started boycotting restaurants, marching, having rallies and the like. Why weren’t we doing it before? No one was there to tell people to do it.Sadly, the celebrities stood up after PROP 8 passed. I think everyone thought it would not pass and focused on Obama or went on with their lives.It is a lesson learned. Hopefully people will march first, a leader will be created from the lose and gays will step away from the clubs and do as they did in Milk’s days.

  13. michael

    January 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    If anyone wants to see the Milk documentary, go to hulu.com and you can watch the whole thing for free.

  14. albert

    February 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Alistair we do not have a black president but a
    mixed race president

  15. r

    February 2, 2009 at 2:46 am

    I saw the movie, was impressed with Penn’s performance, but was otherwise left feeling a bit
    let-down. I think your point about the thirty years without significant change is well stated.

    Where you are you likely didn’t see the throngs of Yes on 8 demonstrators lining PCH
    in my hometown (Newport Beach) throughout the days leading up to the election. There
    were hundreds of them. Shouting and yelling, waving signs, marching small children with
    signs and the like. I was horrified to see such a display in the town where I grew up. Don’t
    misunderstand me, I know this is Orange County and not the Castro, but it was still
    disconcerting to witness the display of hate and anger and fear.

    I found out at that same time that the single largest contributor to the Yes on 8 campaign
    was a man that lives less than a block from me. I see him walking from time to time
    around the neighborhood and never imagined he harbored such blatant hate.

    But that’s part of the problem. Unless they’re holding signs, the haters are hard to see. I
    guess I largely imagined that I lived in an accepting society. But, I don’t. Rick Warren’s
    church is a ten minute drive from here and hate is alive and well in Orange County.

    I know it takes time for change to come. I don’t expect it anytime soon. But thirty years
    is far too long for this change to come.

    There is a document known as the Constitution. There is also something called the Bill of
    Rights. Americans would be well-served to reacquaint themselves with these writings, as
    they are not nearly as ambiguous as some ignorant and illiterate, Bible-hugging gay
    bashers would have you believe. At its simplest, this is not a gay issue. This is a civil
    rights issue.

    I think the only useful contribution I made to this cause in the pre-election days was
    taking the time to go and initiate conversations with the people I know best who were
    in favor of Proposition 8. A few Mormons, two Southern Baptists and one heavily medicated
    Borderline personality disorder later, I felt I perhaps made a small dent on behalf of
    the cause.

    I have no expectations of our new President either. He has been a lukewarm proponent
    of gay rights at best. He has talked a good game on occasion, but contradicts himself
    indirectly at other times. He will do what serves his agenda and the gays shouldn’t
    hold their breath for him to “fix ” things. In my estimation, the selection of Rick Warren
    to speak at the inauguration was a clear indication of how he intends to address
    this subject.

    As a gay man who does not live in a country where I can share in the same civil rights
    as a straight man, or a black man, or a handicapped man, or anyone else for that
    matter, I found the watching “MILK” to be a depressing reminder of how little things
    have changed.

    There just aren’t enough gay people (or perhaps I should say OUT gay people) to make
    this change happen. It will take others fighting with us to make this change happen.
    Please, please take the time to help when and where you can. It means a great deal
    to all gay people; including the ones of us who don’t even expect it.

    I attended the wedding of two of my closest gay friends in August. After spending almost
    12 years together and building a home with a daughter they brought into this world,
    I could see the joy on their faces that day. I was also there, only weeks later, when
    they were explaining to their young daughter what happened in the election.

    It’s all very sad. I hope it doesn’t take another thirty years to see this embarrassment to
    our country corrected and for it truly to become a country of the free for everyone.

  16. travelling, but not in love

    February 2, 2009 at 10:45 am

    It’s the same battles over and over again. I agree. But the world IS moving forwards, mostly.

    I am very proud of the Uk and their attitude to Gay partnerships – just need to find me a husband now! Do you think the government could set up a ‘scheme’ for single homo’s? I think it would be a very good (and much welcomed by the general population) use of taxpayers money!

    he he

  17. lori

    February 2, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    You may have a point.
    How would he have been treated had he been a darker-skinned black?

  18. Dennis

    February 2, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    It is important to try and not focus on labels. It usually
    leads to bad things(i.e. master race). Remember, people are far more
    than the one or two labels you give them. Black, white,
    gay, straight, factory worker, politician; it doesn’t matter
    what you call someone, its what they do and say that counts.

    Black, white, mixed…who cares.
    I am just overjoyed that our new president is INTELLIGENT!!!!!!

  19. Paul Nicholls

    February 5, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I went to see Milk with my partner on Saturday and thought
    it was one of the best films I’ve ever seen. I’m rather
    embarrassed to say I’d never heard of Harvey Milk, so I had
    no idea who he was beforehand. Having seen it, he truly is
    a hero, not just to the gay population of America but to
    gay people everywhere. I’m perhaps one of the lucky ones in
    that I’ve never (as yet) experienced any kind of homophobia,
    and I believe that’s mainly down to people like him tearing
    down the barriers and showing the straight world that actually,
    we’re just like them. Except we have better dress sense :op

    Seriously, it is an amazing, film and is one of the few
    films that actually made me cry. Seeing the real people at
    the end bought home that it was true, and these people
    really fought the battles that were shown in the film.

    Everyone of us is different in some way, and it’s those
    differences that make us who we are. We should embrace them
    with open arms, not put barriers of discrimination up to
    keep them out.

    Paul x

  20. Ross

    February 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Hello, Alistair,

    I did a double-take “Saints to support us …” thinking first of the “Latter-day Saints” (Mormons, who did so much to get Proposition 8 ratified.

    Watching “Christianity” on Channel 4 last night, I was reminded how church-religions feel compelled to control the body, at the expense of the spirit.

    Was there ever a wicked act that was not motivated by misguided faith?

    Ross.

  21. Michelle

    February 11, 2009 at 4:22 am

    In response to Prop 8. I’m a native Californian and live in San Francisco and was shocked and
    embarrassed that bill did not pass. But trust me, we are working really hard at trying to
    overturn it. But the fact that Gays can marry in a state like Connecticut and not California?
    That’s just crazy!!!!

  22. Nicholas

    February 22, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Aiieee – it’s so fraught!

    At the end of the day, it’s just politics.

    I used to wave a banner but finally decided to just get on with it. Fact is, I’m not waiting for the government of any one country, state or city to ‘approve’ (sic) something that I’m going to do anyway! Yes, it would be nice to be granted certain financial and legal benefits, on equal par with our heterosexual counterparts, I won’t deny – but that issue bleeds into so many other socioeconomic issues – issues that impact everyone in this country, regardless of creed, color, gender or orientation.

    In my state (Oregon) when same-sex unions were ratified a couple of years ago in Portland, the largest urban center here, a small, rural county just south of that opted to ban ALL marriage (!!!) until the county government could clearly determine what/which form/s of union were, in fact, constitutional.

    Now… THAT’S progressive!

    Be well…

  23. Lisa

    February 22, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Isnt everyone the same regardless of their sexuality.tbh it has nothing to do with a person’s personality, it just makes them more aware of themselves and others around them

  24. Daniel Murray

    March 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I am sure that this film with be a must-see/must-study part of the history of not only the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. but of any Gay Studies program. The ripples have just begun.

    The world is changing. Change is afoot.

    As for gay men and women — all men and women, too — we are growing. As we change, the world around us changes. As I grow and transform, the world around me reflects that. When I experienced the Proposition 8 chaos, I kept thinking “now…What in me needs to be healed? What in me needs to be listened to more closely?” I took these into my meditations.

    I’m so excited about the changes that are afoot.

    Daniel

  25. Chris Paisano

    March 28, 2009 at 7:42 am

    I was in 7th grade here in Oakland when our woodshop teacher told us
    the Mayor of SF and Harvey Milk were killed. We didn’t understand and in some
    ways we still don’t. I’ve come across hate and the despair that evolves from it and
    what leads to such actions. Yes, we are in CA but the will to change is slow to come.
    I saw this movie with a friend of mine who lives in the Castro and saw it at the Castro.
    Very strange to see life and movie blend in a single night. When we left the theater, I wonder
    when equality will be true for all. Yet we hope and hope that the despair no longer leads lives
    to violence, although in the past week, we here in Oakland are recovering from more fear that
    caused the loss of life of five people. We still do not understand…such is the fate of us being human
    beings…

    Peace & Positivity! Enjoy the Journey…

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